New stadium countdown underway

Eighteen seasons down. One to go.

When the final out was made on Sunday in a 5-2 win over the Pirates, the Marlins completed their 18th season in the big leagues. When they take the field on April 1 against the Mets, it will mark the start of the franchise’s final year at Sun Life Stadium.

pitchingmound1a.jpgThe 2011 campaign also will be the last in which the franchise is known as the Florida Marlins. In 2012, the organization will go through a new beginning. They will move into their new ballpark, and change their name to the Miami Marlins.

Construction is nearly 50 percent complete on the retractable-roof ballpark in the Little Havana section of Miami. The new stadium will seat 37,000. Already, season ticket sales are underway for 2012, as well as ’11.

The roof will guarantee all home games will be played without delay, and it also offers a reprieve from the scorching South Florida heat.

In 2010, the Marlins ranked 28th in home attendance, averaging 18,825 (1,524,894).

Since their inaugural 1993 season, the Marlins have shared their home stadium with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. It didn’t take long for the grounds crew to transform the park from baseball to football on Sunday. As Marlins players were celebrating the final out on Sunday, workers began digging up the pitchers mound, and prepping the infield to be covered with grass.

The workers were able to have the infield dirt and mound covered with sod in time for Monday night’s Dolphins-New England Patriots game.

— Joe Frisaro


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